Is there anything I can do if I cannot afford an attorney? My husband has filed and I will be getting served on Monday.

Asked over 3 years ago - Taylor, MI

We filed for a divorce 3 mths ago, but later had it dismissed. At that time I had 1800 to put down on an attorney. Instead though he pretended to love me again and I used it to put down on a brand new truck for him. I was scammed:( This was his plan. So now he has an attorney, and he finds it hilarious that I cannot afford one and will have to go without. We have two small girls that mean the world to me, and without an attorney I'm afraid he will get whatever he wants. Also, I am deathly scared because in attempt to save my family I signed a written up paper that stated I did not want child support and I want to do joint custody. I regret this and was not in the right mind set. He told me "if you write something up and sign it than we'll make this work" meaning our marriage.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Wendy S. Alton

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . You need to contact an attorney immediately. If your husband makes more money than you, and you do not have money for a lawyer, your attorney can ask the Judge for your husband to pay your attorney fees. Michigan law permits the Judge to order that one spouse pay attorney fees for the other spouse if they cannot afford one.

    Also, you need to be aware that in Michigan, the Judge decides issues of custody in the best interests of the children. The the Judge will listen to and review what each person agrees to, ultimately the Judge has to make a custody decision on what is best for the children, even if that is not what you agree to. You are not bound by what you signed.

    Lastly, on the issue of child support, a parent is not permitted to waive child support. Child Support is money to assist the children. Child Support is calculated with a computer program that takes a number of factors into considedration: income, child care expenses, health care premiums, parenting time, tax exemptions, etc. If the guidelines show that you should be receiving child support, the Judge will not allow you to waive it. Again, you will not be bound by what you signed.

    It appears that your husband is bullying you. You should seek the assistance of a lawyer right away. You have more options and rights than you believe. Good luck to you.

    This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Any answers provied on this... more
  2. Christine Marie Heckler

    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . As I told you already, if you cannot afford your own attorney your husband may be ordered to pay for an attorney for you. I stated as follows in response to your previous question:

    First, child support is the right of the children, therefore, it cannot be waived by a parent. In other words, the statement you signed will not prevent your husband from having to pay child support.

    As to the amount of support, no attorney on this website can tell you what the exact amount will be without more details. That being said, based on the incomes you have provided (and assuming equal physical custody), he would be required to pay substantially more than $280.00 per month in child support.

    Finally, under the Michigan Court Rules a party to a divorce that cannot afford their own attorney can get the court to order the other spouse to pay that party's attorney fees. It is one of the few exceptions in the law where one party can be required to pay the other party's attorney fees.

    I have successfully done this for clients of mine. You may also qualify to have the filing fee waived. You should schedule an office consultation with an attorney. Many offer free consultations.

    Instead of continuing to post the same question over and over again, you should schedule a consultation with an attorney.

    DISCLAIMER: This answer is provided as general information, which may not be appropriate for the specific facts of... more
  3. Henry S. Gornbein


    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . Hi, I understand your dilemma but urge you to try and retain an attorney even if it means borrowing from a friend or relative or using a credit card. You cannot go without representation. The child support issue is valid and the fact that you signed an agreement that you did not want child support should not stand up in court. Again, I urge you to consult with an attorney. Good luck to you.

    Henry Gornbein

  4. Theodore Lyons Araujo


    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Contact attorneys in your area. You need an attorney. many will work on the assumption that you or your husband will ultimately pay the fee.

    Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the States of New York, New Jersey and... more

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